Business Profile: Artists find themselves at Hopkinton Center for the Arts

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Center provides opportunities for growth, self-expression, enjoyment for all ages

Enjoy the magical fantasy of “The Nutcracker,” directed by Jessica Wilson, with two holiday performances this December.
PHOTO/LIZA VOLL PHOTOGRAPHY

“You: Artists Depict Themselves” is the theme of the Hopkinton Center for the Arts’ current juried art exhibit (through Nov. 19) highlighting more than 40 visual artists. It reflects “This Is Me!,” the focus of the HCA’s fifth annual gala fundraiser (Saturday, Nov. 2), which will feature live music, festive food, an open bar, amazing raffle prizes and special guests who will share how the center helped shape their lives.

“Whether it’s through art, dance, music, theater or ceramics, our students continually discover parts of themselves they never knew and further develop existing talents and passions,” stated Kelly Grill. “Co-director Kris Waldman and I feel incredibly grateful, all the time, to witness these life-changing stories and watch how the arts connect us all.”

Each season, Grill and Waldman strive to introduce innovative, new visual and performing arts programming to expand the center’s repertoire of offerings. Patrons and newcomers alike agree the center brings joy and a sense of belonging to their families.

This season meet Jessica Wilson, now serving as the center’s director of dance, who will direct the ballet for two spectacular holiday performances of “The Nutcracker.”

Jessica Wilson conducts a ballet class for young students at the Hopkinton Center for the Arts.

On Saturday, Dec. 7, as part of Hopkinton’s Holiday Stroll, young children will enjoy an abbreviated, 50-minute narrated performance (11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the HCA’s Delbridge Performance Center) with HCA students dancing excerpts from Acts I and II, followed by a chance to meet the cast and enjoy sweet treats.

The full, two-hour performance of this holiday classic will be presented on Saturday, Dec. 22, at Ashland High School with admission at 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Tickets for either event may be purchased at the center or online at hopartscenter.org.

Wilson, founder and former director of MetroWest Ballet in Hudson, received early training from a Royal Academy of Dance-affiliated school in Natick, Boston Ballet and Walnut Hill School. She also studied with Hopkinton’s distinguished artist Jacqueline Cronsberg.

With classical ballet at its core, Wilson has expanded the dance program. It now includes ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary and hip-hop.

“I want to make sure students feel comfortable and safe enough to take chances in order to progress and develop as aspiring artists,” Wilson stated. “My goal is to create a learning atmosphere that is welcoming for all ages and abilities.”

Wilson knows students have expectations to progress, and dance is a challenging art form. She provides the instruction and support necessary to challenge each student’s progress in both technique and performance.

“If a student is struggling with a technical element, I try to help them understand that nothing in life will always feel easy,” Wilson said. “I encourage my students to move through challenging moments and turn them into interesting and beautiful movement. They must trust and be themselves.”

Wilson will take the months ahead to observe her students further and select an appropriate performance repertoire for the spring season that will help her aspiring artists develop and grow.

“There is truly something here for everyone,” Grill added with a smile.

To purchase tickets or discover other center highlights, visit hopartscenter.org.

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